Letter: It is easy to forget humble beginnings

Published 9:55 am Thursday, February 2, 2017

I am a traveler. I was born into it — just like some are born into wealth or land ownership, and others are born into poverty or struggle for survival. Distant lands are not an abstract thought, and English is not the first language I heard. I first crossed the Atlantic when I was 6 weeks old, and I’ve been crossing back and forth ever since. This feeling of belonging to a wider world full of amazing people and experiences has informed my viewpoint. I hope I can convey to you what I know in a way you can accept.

First and perhaps most critically, we are being watched by the world. There will be consequences for our actions. We are not alone, and we are not in charge of any other nation or group of people. This should be cause for pause and measured diplomacy. Sans diplomacy, we will not thrive in the real world economy and it will not be safe for Americans abroad, including our service men and women who do not have the option to cancel their travel plans as I do.

Second, reacting out of fear is weak. It shows desperation, and it is quite irrational. Canceling all travel into the United States by immigrants and refugees from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Sudan is a good example. According to statistics from the highly reputable, Cato Institute, a libertarian think-tank in Washington, D.C., there have been no acts of terrorism committed on American soil by foreign nationals from these countries between 1975-2016. The same cannot be said of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and other countries not on the list. Again, the world is watching. We do not appear rational in our actions. There will be consequences.

Email newsletter signup

Third, ignorance of world history, politics or our position in the dynamics of the world’s economy does not give us a better chance at a blissful existence. It is a dangerous position and not an option for a healthy democracy. If you didn’t vote, you are being irresponsible. If you voted, but did not do sound research, relying only on your nightly news channel for information, you did not do your job for our country. “Alternative facts” are of course fiction. I think we can all agree on that.

We can do better than this. We must do better. As the daughter of a World War II refugee, I understand what it means to a person, nearly starved and exhausted, to be welcomed into a new country. These people have survived terrible situations and they are the most loyal, industrious, nation-building people to be found. They quickly become grateful patriots. It’s only after a couple generations that many begin to feel entitled. It is easy to forget humble beginnings, generations removed, when your people were immigrants like me.

Susanne Crane

Albert Lea